|Photo © Arindam Mukherjee- All Rights Reserved-Courtesy Al Jazeera|
Many of Arindam's photographs were made during Lathmar Holi in Barsana. This is where we (because of a scheduling change) arrived at its peak, instead of a few hours ahead of it which would have given us enough time to case the area and choose our shooting spots. As it happened, we had to slowly shove our way through the dense crowd (see the fourth photograph down), and one of our group members' pockets were picked, and he was relieved of a small amount of cash.
And try as hard as I could, I was never able to find any hijras (as the one shown in Arindam's lovely photograph above) celebrating Holi during our stay in Vrindavan. I did meet a group of them watching the chariot procession in Mathura, but they were waiting to perform at a wedding or some other venue later in the evening. One of these transgenders sported a lush goatee...which seemed rather incongruous.
Holi, whether in Mathura, Vrindavan or elsewhere, was very well covered by local photojournalists/photographers...some freelance, and others affiliated with news organizations...and whenever I met them, were quite helpful in sharing some information.
The dearth of accurate and reliable information (the start and end of the various events, as an example) made it very difficult for us, but there was nothing we could do about it....except hope and pray.